Vista • Mount Holyoke College • Spring/Summer • Vol. 17 No. 1
MHC Bound for Mars
On August 6, when a six-wheeled rover named Curiosity begins exploring the surface of Mars, associate professor of astronomy Darby Dyar will be at mission control, ready to analyze data beamed back to Earth.
Dyar is a participating scientist on the Mars Science Lab program, one of NASA’s most ambitious space missions. With her team of students at MHC, she built a calibration unit on the rover’s ChemCam instrument, which will collect data about the elemental composition of Martian rock and soil. Back at mission control, Dyar will analyze the results, assessing whether the planet is now or ever was capable of supporting microbial life.
Photo of Curiosity liftoff courtesy of NASA